Hamas heads to Cairo truce talks as Rafah braces for Israeli assault

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Cairo – Talks to halt the Israel-Hamas conflict and release remaining hostages entered a second day in Cairo on Wednesday. Gazans, displaced and fearing an Israeli assault on Rafah, await developments. A Hamas delegation heads to Cairo after Israeli negotiators engaged with Egyptian and Qatari mediators on Tuesday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, critical of Israel’s actions, is set to meet President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo. CIA Director William Burns and Mossad head David Barnea participated in “mostly positive” talks on Tuesday, with US National Security Council calling negotiations “constructive.”

Mediators rush to secure a pause before a potential Israeli ground incursion into Rafah, urging caution due to the risk of mass civilian casualties. The US insists on a “credible plan” for civilian protection in Rafah before supporting any ground operation.

Rafah, housing over 1.4 million Palestinians, faces a looming humanitarian disaster. UN agencies warn of a potential slaughter, while terrified civilians seek safety. Pressure grows on Egypt to open its border, closed to Gazans, worsening conditions in makeshift camps.

US President Joe Biden emphasizes the need to protect civilians in Rafah, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserts the necessity of eliminating Hamas’s last battalions. As truce talks continue, the Israeli military’s bombardment persists, resulting in 104 casualties overnight.

Israeli forces release a video claiming Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar’s escape through a tunnel after the war’s launch. The hunt for Sinwar continues.

Gazans in Rafah grapple with the decision to stay or leave, fearing further misery. Some pack up while others refuse, citing dire conditions in their hometowns. The war, triggered by a Hamas attack, resulted in casualties on both sides, with hostages still in Gaza as negotiations unfold.

As the Cairo talks proceed, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum urges a deal, emphasizing the plight of hostages, including Americans. The situation remains tense, with conflicting reports on the hostages’ status.

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